Is Your Best Friend Sick? 10 Dog Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

by | Apr 15, 2020 | Health and Nutrition

People spend over $50 billion annually on their pets. 

The most common pet in the United States are dogs, with most houses having at least one. They are companions and many consider them to be part of the family. If you are worried about the health of your pet, there are some dog symptoms you should watch out for.

Our pets, like all animals, are subject to several diseases and conditions. Most of these can be handled by a trip to the vet, and some of them require urgent care. If you suspect your dog is sick, you should take them to a Veterinarian as soon as possible. 

Dog Symptoms of Illness

While many ailments will share symptoms there are some that are worse than others. One of the big signals of sickness in humans, throwing up, can even be fairly common for a dog. There are other symptoms that mean you should immediately take your dog to the vet, and here are 10 dog symptoms you shouldn’t ignore.

1. Your Dog Is Throwing up Blood

While throwing up from time to time is nothing to worry about, if there is blood with the vomit your dog has a problem. If you notice that your dog is throwing up blood it could be a sign of serious intestinal or stomach issues, and dogs are vulnerable to most forms of cancer as well. 

2. Dog Lethargy 

Most dogs are high energy animals. Even for those that aren’t, you should be aware of their normal activity level. If you notice a sudden decrease in the activity level of your pet, it is a sign that they are getting sick. Common ailments like kennel cough cause lethargy in dogs and should be treated as soon as possible. 

Knowing your pet and their normal behavior is critical in this. Everyone, your dog included, can have a low energy day, but if the lethargy persists for more than a day or two, they need medical evaluation.  

3. Low Appetite

Just like humans, where age impacts metabolism, dogs eat less as they age. However, if your dog refuses to eat anything for 24 hours, it is almost always a sign that something is very wrong. Digestive and stomach problems are the main source of illness for dogs. 

4. If Your Dog Is Very Thirsty

While some dogs, based on breed and size, will drink an enormous amount of water, excessive thirst can be a sign of sickness. You know your dog best, and if you notice that they are always thirsty, there could be a deeper reason. Sudden changes in appetite for food or water is a clear dog symptom of illness.


5. Runny Nose and Eyes

Just like with humans, there are many illnesses that come with a runny nose and eyes. If you notice that your dog has a lot of snot, or if their eyes appear to be weeping, they most likely have an infection. Unlike in humans, who ignore most runny noses, dogs should be taken to the vet if they manifest sinus symptoms. 

6. Losing Weight 

It is not natural for a dog to lose noticeable amounts of weight. It could be a sign of cancer in your dog or other less serious issues. The only way to get to the bottom of it is to take them in for a full check-up. Your vet will be able to help determine what is causing this weight loss. 

7. Runny Bowel Movements and Diarrhea 

It isn’t uncommon for a dog to have an episode of diarrhea, much like humans. If you notice that it persists for more than one bowel movement it is often a sign that something is wrong. Make sure that you take your dog to the vet so that you can avoid the mess and your dog can get feeling better. 

In some cases, a change in food can also be the culprit of this condition. Dog stomachs are amazing in many ways, but they are also vulnerable to sudden changes in food source or type. 

8. Lumps Under the Skin or Rashes 

If you notice that your dog has manifested any lumps under their skin, they should be taken to a vet immediately. This may be nothing, as dogs do develop benign cysts and other maladies that aren’t life-threatening, but there is no way to be sure. 

Rashes that become visible on their skin and don’t go away are another sign of illness. If the skin looks red, flaky or dry, they could have a serious problem. 

9. Confusion or Mood Swings

If your dog has sudden mood changes or acts confused about normal activities they may be having a more serious problem. Dogs adapt very well to routines and don’t often behave oddly. Dogs are often very reliable in their mood and temperament, so monitoring it can tell you if there are sudden changes. 

10. Red, Swollen Gums or Tooth Loss

The health of your mouth is an indicator of your overall health. The same is true of your dog, who will manifest symptoms of illness sometimes in places that aren’t expected. If your dog has red, bleeding or swollen gums they could have a serious illness that requires medical intervention.  

Dog Health, Human Health 

Most conditions that dogs have don’t carry over to humans, but some do. For the most part, if your dog is sick, they need you to watch out for them and make sure they get the care they need. Dogs are emotional creatures, and while they can’t tell us if they feel bad, they can show us by other means. 

You know your dog best, so trust your instincts when it comes to dog symptoms of illness and disease. Anything that is out of the ordinary and doesn’t go away within a day can be a sign of something going wrong inside your dog. They rely on you to keep them safe and healthy, and not taking a sick dog to the vet can mean that they won’t be around to be your companion.

While you’re taking care of your dog, be sure to also look after your own health.